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Music Industry Jobs - How to Become a Sound Recording Engineer

Jun 12, 2008
A music studio contains more equipment than just microphones and a keyboard. To produce a world class album, you need to get the best sound out of the artist and the music. One person whose job it is to do this is the music recording engineer.

When I think of an engineer, I think of an architect or someone who tinkers with wires and circuits all day. In the music business, they use a different type of engineer. He is called a recording engineer and his job begins as soon as the artist starts to sing.

The area that the recording engineer occupies is called the digital audio workstation, or DAW. This workstation contains all of the technical gadgets an engineer needs to fine tune the sounds he hears. The engineer works with the artist to lay down the best sound they can get. This may involve the artist recording certain parts of the song several times until just the right sound is achieved.

The recording engineer may have additional teammates to collaborate on the performance. They are mostly a part of larger projects with big budgets. Smaller projects use the recording engineer in several roles to compensate. Learning all aspects of music engineering can help you land a job in a smaller studio that needs a multi-tasking engineer.

Let's move on to the mixing engineer. This person takes the best tracks and mixes those together into one blended sound. He uses the best musical tracks that the recording engineer has produced. The recording engineer can hear how the sounds mesh with each other. If it is less than optimal, the recording engineer is back in the studio with the artist recording new sound tracks. Being a mix engineer is kind of like putting together a performance.

A mastering engineer depends on their ears to enhance their experience. He will listen to see what the sound is really like. Over the years he has developed a talent for hearing tones that should be projected more and voices that need to be stronger.

Every engineer needs an assistant. If you are the assistant engineer, keep your wits about you. This could be the final step towards your big break. An assistant performs the usual duties: gopher for the artist and engineers, working with the recording and mixing agent, and learning as much as they can about the business.

The assistant learns to operate equipment and practice their sense of hearing. Music is important because the instrumental sounds and lyrics create a mood in people. It is a form of artistic expression that everyone can appreciate. I love listening to good music and a crystal clear recorded song is that much better to listen to.

Employers will expect a recording engineer to know something of the equipment when they accept the job. In the music industry, there is no substitute for learning and gaining experience. It used to be a catch-22 of sorts. No one wanted to take a chance on you if you hadn't had any practical time using the equipment. Then again, it is hard to get the experience if no one will hire you.

Take a course or apply for a degree program that will give you the necessary hands-on training. You will need it to get into the door of a music studio for an interview. Where once this equipment was rarely seen in a classroom, many music schools have all of the resources they need to hold labs where everyone gets to utilize the equipment to do some real work.

Do you desire to be a recording engineer? Learn how to do all the jobs of every engineer in case you will be the only one. One way to know if this is right for you is to apply for an internship and try a variety of jobs.
About the Author
It's a great time to pursue a music career, whether it's sound recording engineer jobs, marketing and promotions, or even song writing. The industry is changing, with CDs yielding to digital downloads. Learn about music jobs on JobMonkey.
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